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Natural Kinds, Mind Independence, and DefeasibilityPhilosophers typically require that natural kinds exist independently of human thought. However, many classifications of natural kinds refer to entities and psychological states that depend on us. Alternatively, we can borrow an idea from epistemology: natural kind classifications should be defeasible. A classification is a candidate for being a natural kind classification only if there is a factor that could show that the classification is wrong, and that factor is external to the mental states a scientist has about that classification. Defeasibility provides a more appropriate restriction on natural kind classifications than mind independence.
University of Calgary